How to Prepare Your Trees for Storm Season
Storm season is upon us! With the recent storms, it’s important to know how to prepare your trees for the coming months.
In Australia, the storm season typically occurs from October to April with most floods, tropical cyclones, heatwaves, bushfires, and severe thunderstorms happening during this period.
We know you’re busy, so we’ve made this guide as concise and straightforward as possible.
First things first: if you have a tree service, call them now! They’ll be there in no time to help you get your trees ready for the storm. If not, don’t worry, we’ve got some great tips for how to prepare your trees for storm season on your own!
Table of Contents:
Inspect your trees
The first step is always to inspect your trees for any signs of disease, decay, or any other visible indications of structural weakness.
This can include any dead or weak branches, discolouration of bark, rotting root systems, or wilting leaves. If you notice any of these issues, there is a risk that your trees could become a serious safety hazard during a storm. Not only is there a risk of the tree collapsing onto your property or vehicle, but weak and dead branches can become extremely dangerous projectiles in strong winds causing further damage.
If you are unsure whether your trees are healthy, it is always advisable to consult a qualified arborist who can assess the condition of your trees.
Pruning and trimming
Pruning your trees at least once a year is a good practice to ensure they do not become overgrown and more hazardous to surrounding areas. Pruning and trimming should be done strategically and carefully. Lopping trees (removing large top sections of the tree) can make the tree less stable and is not recommended during storm season.
Selectively pruning limbs and branches that are rotting, decaying, or dead can result in a stronger and more stable base.
Trimming your trees can be effective if done correctly, which is why we recommend seeking the help of a qualified arborist to assist you with which areas require attention.
Remove hazards (dead trees and branches)
Tending to your tree’s health is important for storm season preparation, another crucial step for storm preparation is tending to your dead trees.
Inspecting your property for any dead branches, limbs, or debris and removing them before storm season can prevent the risk of further damage from strong winds and rain.
Anchoring your trees
Anchoring your trees involves installing stakes around your tree and connecting them to your tree with rope or twine before a storm occurs. If done correctly, anchoring can make your trees more stable and prevent the risk of being uprooted or falling over during a storm.
We advise not anchoring your trees too tightly. There should always be some slack to allow the tree to bend in the wind, anchoring too tightly can harm the stability of the tree. Additionally, you can use tree strapping or guying to provide extra support to the tree and prevent it from being uprooted by strong winds.
Cover and protect small trees
To protect small and juvenile trees during storm season it is recommended to construct a protective cover around them before a storm hits.
To do this you should install stakes around the tree and cover it with either tarpaulin, burlap, or ideally, a row cover. This is not recommended for large and mature trees.
For juvenile trees, it is important to remove the bindings after the storm has passed to not stunt the growth of the tree.
Fertilise and mulch your trees
The best defence for your trees during storm season is making sure they are healthy and strong.
If you have had any excavation or construction work done near your trees, the soil system may be weak and unstable. A weak soil and root system can significantly increase the likelihood of your trees falling or being uprooted during a storm.
Regularly watering and fertilising your trees can assist in strengthening root systems and reinforcing the stability of your trees. Similarly, mulching the base of your trees helps lock moisture into the soil and prevents soil erosion around the root system.
Look out for overhanging trees and powerlines
One thing to keep an eye on during storm season is any overhanging branches or limbs that are within close proximity to powerlines and roofs. Branches hanging over your roof not only present a potential danger to your home if they break or fall, but they can also clog up gutters and downpipes. This can create a fire hazard for electrical or bushfires and inhibit proper drainage during heavy rains.
Trees near power lines present a serious risk of power interruptions, electrocution, and electrical fires. If any of your trees or branches are close to powerlines, you should contact a professional arborist immediately.
Do I need council approval to prepare my trees for storm season?
Before you begin trimming and chopping down trees, there are some details you must consider.
- Do you live near a river or a waterway?
- Is the tree a native or protected species?
- Are there native animals nesting in the tree?
If you are unsure about any of these questions, you could risk being fined by the local city council. Certain species of trees and the surrounding environment of your property are important factors to consider when trimming and removing trees.
Pruning and removing trees near powerlines and unstable branches can be extremely dangerous without the correct equipment.
Save yourself from injury and a potential fine by contacting a qualified arborist who can assess your property and remove any trees that could be a problem during storm season. The professional team at Pro Tree Works are the #1 Arborist’s on the Gold Coast and have years of industry training and experience with the Queensland storm season. They can take preventative steps to ensure your family and home are safe from the potential dangers of storm season. Feel free to give them a call on 1800 004 656 or you can get a quote anytime.